The Head of Education, Research and Training at the MTTD of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Alexander Obeng has asked Ghanaian drivers to take note of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2020 which has been passed into law.
Speaking on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he explained the law will provide tougher punishment for road traffic offenders whose actions will lead to the death of an unborn child.
The senior police officer asked drivers to abreast themselves with the law and err on the side of caution so they do not break the law.
The bill is historic because it is the first time a private member’s Bill proposed by Members of Parliament (MPs) has been approved by Parliament.
The Bill amends the Road Traffic Act, 2004 (Act 683) to lay out sanctions against drivers and cyclists whose actions and inactions result in injury or death to unborn children in the womb of pregnant mothers.
The Road Traffic Act, 2004 (Act 683) which was subsequently amended by the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act, 2008 (Act 761) generally provides for the protection of children. But the act is silent on legal remedies for an unborn baby when a road traffic crash occurs.
The Bill amends Section 1 of the original Act to prohibit the driver of a motor vehicle from driving dangerously on a road as to result in the death of a person including an unborn child. A driver commits an offense if the driver drives dangerously on the road that results in the death of a person including an unborn child.
The driver is on summary conviction liable to a term of imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than seven years if his actions or inactions harm an unborn fetus. This is separate from sanctions the traffic offender may get for death or injury caused to the pregnant mother herself.
Similarly, a person who rides a cycle dangerously on a road that results in the death of an unborn child commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than seven years.
Clause 3 of the amendment Bill amends the original act to impose a duty on a driver of a motor vehicle to, as soon as reasonably practicable, report to a Police station on the occurrence of an accident that results in the death of an unborn child.
Article 108 of the Constitution is categorical that Parliament shall not proceed with a bill that imposes a charge on the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana unless the bill is introduced by, or on behalf of the President.
Reacting to this, Superintendent Alexander Obeng said it will take the collaboration of drivers to make the implementation successful.
He further advised drivers to respect road regulations to help reduce road crashes in the country.